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Monday, April 11, 2011

What Was I Thinking?

A few years ago Lane Smith visited the Red Balloon to talk about John, Paul, George, & Ben. Though I love to take photographs, I do not enjoy being in them. Yet somehow I allowed a friend to take a photograph of Lane and me - and agreed to wear his goofy wig. What I was thinking? Now I can laugh at the humorous image.

Today my thoughts were definitely not focused. I had carefully chosen books for a biography book talk for third graders. When they arrived, I pushed the book truck to the story steps and smiled. Their teacher asked, "Are those biographies?" Yes, I replied. She hesitated. "Oh. Well, I asked for nonfiction books." Oh, I replied. Hmm. What had I been thinking?

Thinking fast, I gave her a picture book biography of Jesse Owens to share, and I quickly selected two books from each Dewey section. Instead of being distracted, the students were mesmerized by the books. Munro Leaf's 1946 book How to Behave and Why was snatched immediately following the impromptu booktalk. From the 400s, they love hearing about word origins in In a Word by Rosalie Baker; four students wanted it. Seymour Simon's Lungs grabbed their attention in the 600s. A book on Minnesota was the most popular selection from the 900s. Even more interesting to me than their interest in those books I selected were their inquiries about so many topics. They wanted books about the Golden Gate Bridge, Taiwan, foxes, koala bears, more etymology books, Roman gods and goddesses, and fireworks. From my completely absent selection of biographies came a fabulous afternoon of topic selection.


  1. To stir up such spontaneous book connections is a true art!

  2. That's called thinking on your feet. And it's proof of how well you know your collection.

  3. I'm not sure which hair is worse...the cotton wig or my short haircut.

  4. You're such a cutie. So...biography is not non-fiction, eh? Excellent problem solving, Jewel.